Free Classics

White Fang by Jack London

Every Friday, Marilyn Knapp Litt, who blogs at ClassicKindle.com, brings us her recommendation of a free classic book to discover (or rediscover) on Kindle. Find more of Marilyn’s recommendations at her blog, ClassicKindle.com, a guide to the best free and inexpensive classic literature for the Kindle. You can also get Marilyn’s blog on Kindle and I recommend that you “Like” the Classic Kindle Facebook page as well so you don’t miss anything. Here’s Marilyn’s post:

White Fang is a 1906 novel by Jack London. London is famous for The Call of the Wild, about a dog stolen from his comfortable life in California and transported to Alaska to be a working sled dog. But there are some, myself included, who think White Fang is the better book.

White Fang, like London’s other famous dog novel, is written primarily from the perspective of the dogs. “White Fang” is a dog/wolf hybrid. The book is set in the wild.

The porcupine rolled itself into a ball, radiating long, sharp needles in all directions that defied attack. In his youth One Eye had once sniffed too near a similar, apparently inert ball of quills, and had the tail flick out suddenly in his face. One quill he had carried away in his muzzle, where it had remained for weeks, a rankling flame, until it finally worked out. So he lay down, in a comfortable crouching position, his nose fully a foot away, and out of the line of the tail. Thus he waited, keeping perfectly quiet. There was no telling. Something might happen. The porcupine might unroll. There might be opportunity for a deft and ripping thrust of paw into the tender, unguarded belly.

But at the end of half an hour he arose, growled wrathfully at the motionless ball, and trotted on. He had waited too often and futilely in the past for porcupines to unroll, to waste any more time. He continued up the right fork. The day wore along, and nothing rewarded his hunt.

Because it is set in the wild, some animals get killed and hurt. That is going to make this distasteful to some readers. But, some people avoid murder mysteries for similar reasons – the violence is distasteful. I let the reader make the choice. I find London’s books to be powerful stories about the love between man and dogs. Others find them to be about cruelty. I suppose that is why one UK reader calls this a “marmite” book – a polarizing novel that people either love or hate.

Once, lying awake, he heard a strange sound in the white wall [the cave entrance]. He did not know that it was a wolverine, standing outside, all a-trembling with its own daring, and cautiously scenting out the contents of the cave. The cub knew only that the sniff was strange, a something unclassified, therefore unknown and terrible–for the unknown was one of the chief elements that went into the making of fear.

The hair bristled upon the grey cub’s back, but it bristled silently. How was he to know that this thing that sniffed was a thing at which to bristle? It was not born of any knowledge of his, yet it was the visible expression of the fear that was in him, and for which, in his own life, there was no accounting. But fear was accompanied by another instinct–that of concealment. The cub was in a frenzy of terror, yet he lay without movement or sound, frozen, petrified into immobility, to all appearances dead. His mother, coming home, growled as she smelt the wolverine’s track, and bounded into the cave and licked and nozzled him with undue vehemence of affection. And the cub felt that somehow he had escaped a great hurt.

I have always loved books about animals and this was one of many I read as a child. But this one always stood out and I have vivid memories even of where I was when I read it.

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War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells

Every Friday, Marilyn Knapp Litt, who blogs at ClassicKindle.com, brings us her recommendation of a free classic book to discover (or rediscover) on Kindle. Find more of Marilyn’s recommendations at her blog, ClassicKindle.com, a guide to the best free and inexpensive classic literature for the Kindle. You can also get Marilyn’s blog on Kindle and I recommend that you “Like” the Classic Kindle Facebook page as well so you don’t miss anything. Here’s Marilyn’s post:

War of the Worlds is a terrific early science fiction novel (1898) by English writer H.G. Wells. It has been made into movies numerous times, but I think it is overlooked as a book.

The US seems to have cycles of UFO reports and lately we have entered one of those cycles. For awhile I wondered how so many people with smartphones could fail to film the UFOs they reported, but now YouTube is brimming over with shiny, fleeting objects!

Perhaps it is as H.G. Wells wrote:

No one would have believed in the last years of the nineteenth century that this world was being watched keenly and closely by intelligences greater than man’s and yet as mortal as his own; that as men busied themselves about their various concerns they were scrutinised and studied, perhaps almost as narrowly as a man with a microscope might scrutinise the transient creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water.

I will leave the big reveal to the reader, but the narrator will give you an idea of the horror in encountering his first Martian:

I saw astonishment giving place to horror on the faces of the people about me. I heard inarticulate exclamations on all sides. There was a general movement backwards. I saw the shopman struggling still on the edge of the pit. I found myself alone, and saw the people on the other side of the pit running off, Stent among them. I looked again at the cylinder, and ungovernable terror gripped me. I stood petrified and staring.

Great fun!

Click here to get your free copy of War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells >>>

Free Classic: Brood of the Witch-Queen by Sax Rohmer

Every Friday, Marilyn Knapp Litt, who blogs at ClassicKindle.com, brings us her recommendation of a free classic book to discover (or rediscover) on Kindle. Find more of Marilyn’s recommendations at her blog, ClassicKindle.com, a guide to the best free and inexpensive classic literature for the Kindle. You can also get Marilyn’s blog on Kindle and I recommend that you “Like” the Classic Kindle Facebook page as well so you don’t miss anything. Here’s Marilyn’s post:

You have to love the preface to Brood of the Witch Queen!

PREFATORY NOTICE “The strange deeds of Antony Ferrara, as herein related, are intended to illustrate certain phases of Sorcery as it was formerly practised (according to numerous records) not only in Ancient Egypt but also in Europe, during the Middle Ages. In no case do the powers attributed to him exceed those which are claimed for a fully equipped Adept.”

You don’t read those sort of claims in Harry Potter!

If you are ready for a supernatural thriller written in 1918 with an Egyptian twist, pick up this novel by Sax Rohmer (the pen name of Arthur Henry Ward.

‘”Walton is junior house-surgeon there,” he said, “and he can arrange for you to see the case. She (the patient) undoubtedly died from some rare nervous affection. I have a theory,” etc.; the conversation became technical.
Cairn went to the hospital, and by courtesy of Walton, whom he had known at Oxford, was permitted to view the body.

“The symptoms which Sime has got to hear about,” explained the surgeon, raising the sheet from the dead woman’s face, “are—”

He broke off. Cairn had suddenly exhibited a ghastly pallor; he clutched at Walton for support.

“My God!”

Cairn, still holding on to the other, stooped over the discoloured face. It had been a pretty face when warm life had tinted its curves; now it was congested—awful; two heavy discolorations showed, one on either side of the region of the larynx.

“What on earth is wrong with you?” demanded Walton.

“I thought,” gasped Cairn, “for a moment, that I knew—”

“Really! I wish you did! We can’t find out anything about her. Have a good look.”

“No,” said Cairn, mastering himself with an effort—”a chance resemblance, that’s all.” He wiped the beads of perspiration from his forehead.

“You look jolly shaky,” commented Walton. “Is she like someone you know very well?”

“No, not at all, now that I come to consider the features; but it was a shock at first. What on earth caused death?”

“Asphyxia,” answered Walton shortly. “Can’t you see?”

“Someone strangled her, and she was brought here too late?”

“Not at all, my dear chap; nobody strangled her. She was brought here in a critical state four or five days ago by one of the slum priests who keep us so busy. We diagnosed it as exhaustion from lack of food—with other complications. But the case was doing quite well up to last night; she was recovering strength. Then, at about one o’clock, she sprang up in bed, and fell back choking. By the time the nurse got to her it was all over.”

“But the marks on her throat?”

Walton shrugged his shoulders.’

More Bones than CSI, I would say . . .

Click here to get your free copy of Brood of the Witch-Queen by Sax Rohmer >>>